Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Dealing with Broken Appointments Appropriately for Accurate Reporting

Over the past few weeks we’ve been discussing the Dentrix Practice Advisor Report and all the valuable information you can learn from it. Some of the statistics included in this report are regarding broken appointments. The Practice Advisor gives you the number of broken appointments not re-appointed, scheduled hours for broken appointments, and revenue lost for broken appointments.

First, it’s important to understand what constitutes a broken appointment. A broken appointment is a “negative” cancellation. This would be patients that no-show or cancel their appointment with little or no notice. I would recommend that any patient that does not give your office 24 hours’ notice should be considered a broken appointment. In those situations, when the patient calls to cancel or when they don’t show up at all, select the appointment on the schedule and then click the Break Appointment icon to break the appointment. The appointment moves to the Unscheduled List.

Now a common problem I see is that when it comes time to reschedule that broken appointment, offices aren’t looking at the Unscheduled List. They schedule the patient a whole new appointment. There are a couple of problems with doing this:
  • Your Unscheduled Lists will not be accurate. There are unscheduled appointments on the list and new appointments for those same procedures on the schedule.
  • The appointment is not counted as re-appointed in the Practice Advisor report. 
It’s important for everyone on your scheduling team to reschedule broken appointments from the Unscheduled List. When you schedule an appointment for a patient that has a broken appointment, Dentrix will display a message that says,


Always say yes when you see this message! When you click Yes, the Family Appointment List will appear. In the Appointment section, select the unscheduled appointment, and then click View Appointment.


An Appointment Information dialog box will open showing the appointment that was placed on the Unscheduled List.


It will contain the appointment reason and any notes or information that was entered for the original appointment. From here you can move the appointment to the Pinboard, and then find an opening in the schedule for it. Rescheduling broken appointments in this way will result in the Practice Advisor counting this as re-appointed.

If you review your Practice Advisor Report and find you have a high number of broken appointment hours and lost revenue, consider some the following:
  • Are patients no-showing for appointments? Do you have an effective confirmation system?
  • Did the patient have unaddressed concerns regarding the appointment?  The three main reasons patients don’t proceed with dental treatment are money, time, and fear. Did the office address these concerns?
  • Is this patient a habitual canceler? If so, it may be a good idea to ask the patient for a deposit to reserve time for them on your schedule. 
  • Do you charge patients a missed appointment fee to deter them from last minute cancellation?
  • Is the office team making it too easy for patients to cancel? The patients should be aware that they are inconveniencing the office by a last-minute cancellation. 
Having accurate broken appointment information available to you in the Practice Advisor Report can help you to evaluate if your office policies are effective in minimizing broken appointments.
If you haven’t had an opportunity to review the Practice Advisor Report in Dentrix, I strongly encourage you to do so. It is such a great report, with tons of valuable information all in one place. Evaluate it with the doctor and your team on a monthly basis to see where your office can improve.

If you have any questions on this topic, please e-mail me at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.


Charlotte Skaggs, Certified Dentrix Trainer

Charlotte Skaggs is the founder of Vector Dental Consulting LLC, a practice management firm focused on taking offices to the next level. Charlotte co-owned and managed a successful dental practice with her husband for 17 years. She has a unique approach to consulting based on the perspective of a practice owner. Charlotte has been using Dentrix for almost 20 years and is a certified Dentrix trainer. Contact Charlotte at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.

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